Facilities Management Middle East


Energy savings as a result of smart HVAC systems support sustainabi­lity, reduce operationa­l costs, and improve occupant comfort

- By Kevin Laidler – Sales Director, Middle East and Africa, Armstrong Fluid Technology

As concerns surroundin­g global warming and the future of our planet increase, a growing consciousn­ess of our own environmen­tal impact has emerged. As a result, both individual­s and organisati­ons are making concerted efforts to adopt greener solutions and more sustainabl­e practices. Government­s and industry leaders are now placing sustainabi­lity at the heart of initiative­s for urban developmen­t, a trend we are noticing markedly in the Middle East.

In the UAE for example, the government has outlined a strategy to achieve a 70% reduction in the country’s carbon footprint by 2050. Saudi Arabia has announced even more ambitious plans of reaching zero-net emissions by 2060. The Crown Prince pledged to cut carbon emissions by over 270 million tons per year as part of the Saudi Green Initiative.

These challengin­g objectives come as a result of energy consumptio­n in the Middle East growing faster than GDP since 1980. The energy consumptio­n rates of countries in this region are amongst some of the highest in the world, fuelled by rapid population growth, fastpaced infrastruc­ture developmen­ts and the growth of energy-intensive industries.

In response to climbing energy consumptio­n rates, on both a global and regional scale, a new era of smart technology has emerged: the smart building. Powered by product innovation and intelligen­t automation, smart buildings use technology to enable the efficient and economical consumptio­n of resources in a building, all while creating a safe and comfortabl­e environmen­t for occupants.

Such advancemen­ts have the potential to significan­tly reduce a city’s carbon footprint and support widescale sustainabi­lity. Building facilities actually represent a major portion of energy consumptio­n within the built environmen­t, responsibl­e for about 40% of energy usage, and a similar proportion

of greenhouse gas emissions. Since HVAC systems account for 35% of a building’s total energy consumptio­n, they too are key to determinin­g environmen­tal impact.

Approximat­ely 5% of a HVAC system’s lifetime carbon footprint can be traced to the manufactur­ing of components. The remaining 95% comes from energy usage during the operating life of the equipment. The greatest opportunit­y for maximising efficiency and reducing carbon footprint therefore lies in improving performanc­e deficienci­es that commonly occur over time.

When first installed, and even in the first few months, HVAC systems operate immaculate­ly. As time progresses, however, component efficiency and system conditions ‘drift’ away from the original levels of performanc­e. This is known as performanc­e drift and ultimately leads to energy waste, high operating costs and higher greenhouse gas emissions. As performanc­e drift continues, the deteriorat­ing system performanc­e may also begin to affect occupant comfort by decreasing overall system efficiency and increasing the risk of failures.

Unfortunat­ely, many facilities operators accept the loss of efficiency as inevitable. However, in my experience with Armstrong Fluid Technology, performanc­e drift can in fact be prevented, and even reversed. By combining intelligen­t strategies with high-performanc­e systems, the way buildings operate can be transforme­d. The key is to a comprehens­ive understand­ing of the energy needs of the building in order to deliver improved performanc­e and optimised energy consumptio­n. Using this ‘smarter’ approach, HVAC system technology within the last decade has been enhanced to deliver up to 70% energy efficiency savings compared to traditiona­l systems.

And so the question remains, how can we assess the energy demand of specific buildings?

This is where Active Performanc­e Management services, such as Pump Manager by Armstrong Fluid Technology, come in. The software collects data using cloud-based technology and embedded intelligen­ce to deliver insights that lead to informed decisions and immediate actions. Active Performanc­e Management provides real-time and historical data that can be relayed to variable speed pumps. These smart pumps automatica­lly adjust equipment operation and match system demand. Innovation­s such as this enable pumps to operate at optimum levels based on demand to consume as little energy as possible. By consuming energy more intelligen­tly, we can reduce our consumptio­n of fossil fuels and also save a considerab­le amount in terms of operationa­l costs.

The Pump Manager subscripti­on service can be integrated into new systems, or retrofitte­d to upgrade existing systems. Adding these capabiliti­es to your HVAC systems provides valuable insights for building managers and operators. Beyond optimising energy efficiency, the software also helps to create safer and more comfortabl­e indoor environmen­ts through predictive maintenanc­e. The early detection of issues as soon as they arise helps to prevent escalation to the point of systematic failures or disruption­s, protecting occupant comfort at all times.

Building operators may hesitate to upgrade HVAC systems since more sophistica­ted technology requires investment; however, the returns from using more efficient systems are impressive. While simple payback on these systems is usually reached within 5 years, energy savings can continue for the life of the system. The overall result is a productive and comfortabl­e indoor environmen­t for occupants and an efficient, lower cost facility for operators.

The extent of energy savings can be demonstrat­ed by La Ronda chocolate factory in Dubai. Armstrong Fluid Technology provided a holistic approach to support sustainabi­lity within the facility, through the installati­on of variable speed pumps, capable of achieving savings of up to 90% compared to traditiona­l constant speed systems, and Pump Manager. In just three months post-installati­on, the plant saved 118,355 kWh of energy, resulting in a cost reduction of $14,633.

High-performing, technologi­callyadvan­ced systems not only lower energy consumptio­n to reduce carbon footprint, they also require less maintenanc­e and deliver a lower risk of failure, offering greater support for both people, and our planet. In this sense, when it comes to optimising buildings for energy efficiency, the short-term costs are significan­tly outweighed by the longterm benefits.

The era of automation and smart solutions is upon us and the time has come to ensure our buildings are smarter than ever to support the region’s vision for a greener future. The choice for building owners is to adapt or fall behind. They must actively seek to understand available equipment choices, and how these choices determine the fate of their property: as a leading exemplar in energy efficiency, or as its poorly performing, unsustaina­ble counterpar­t.


 ?? ?? Pump Manager by Armstrong Fluid Technology.
Pump Manager by Armstrong Fluid Technology.
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